Time Out first hailed Brixton market as a new cultural and culinary destination a few years back and since then, under the moniker of Brixton Village, it has boomed into one of the most vibrant shopping scenes in the capital. But now, the independent shops that have given the place its buzz are at risk of closure as rents have soared by up to almost a quarter and small businesses are concerned that they could be replaced by big chains – and that landlords are only interested in maximising profits.
Some retailers say they have been handed new contracts without warning – including rent rises of up to 22%, with payments backdated to August. The area has seen a boom in visitors since 2005, when Space Makers Agency transformed Brixton market by filling empty shops in the main shopping hub, Granville Arcade, with local businesses. Since then opening hours have increased and visitors have soared but some traders say the new rent rises could drive smaller businesses out.
The market managers – the Union of Wholesale Markets, has insisted that rent rises are necessary to pay for extended opening hours, and says it supports entrepreneurs and is not aiming to attract big chains. But now some of the Village’s shops are fighting back: the longstanding Nour Cash and Carry is facing a 22% increase and says closure could be on the cards. It is asking the managers to reconsider the rise and protect the diverse nature of the market. Rebecca Taylor
To sign the petition go to gopetition.com.